Mia is feeling so much better after a difficult few months. Significantly better, actually. A few months ago, her boyfriend broke it off with her. He said Mia was being reckless. He said that he did not trust her anymore. Mia was devastated and depressed. She barely ate or slept for several weeks. But Mia seems to have come out of her depression—in a big way. Mia landed a full-time job at a boutique, and she is loving the energy at the store. After work, she has been playing keyboard for a band. They either practice or have a gig each evening. Many nights, the band goes out and parties together. Some nights, Mia is having so much fun, she does not even go home. She goes straight from the club to work.
Mia is feeling good, but her friends are not. They are worried. Mia has been diagnosed with Bipolar Depression. She is currently in a manic phase, and her loved ones know that depression could settle in again.
The term Bipolar Depression can feel scary and overwhelming. For people who are struggling with the mental illness but do not have a diagnosis yet, their own behavior can feel unnerving. But mental health professionals are learning more and more about how Bipolar works and about how to treat it effectively. People who have Bipolar are often able to find an effective treatment and navigate the illness.
The counselors and therapists at Thriveworks Charlotte offer treatment for Bipolar Depression. We have helped many people find the emotional, social, and physical assistance they need to fight the illness and live a happy life.
What Is Bipolar Disorder?
At times, people will refer to Bipolar Depression as manic depression because the illness can swing people from a low, depressed mood to a high, crazed mood and back again. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) outlines the criteria for recognizing Bipolar Depression.
People sometimes stereotype the manic episodes of Bipolar Depression as pure euphoria—happiness and energy all the time. Some people experience mania in that way, but the manic episodes can also be heightened irritation and anger. The DSM-5 describes true mania as follows:
- When a person experiences an abnormal and persistent irritable or ecstatic mood for a time period of at least one week.
- During this time, the following symptoms will be displayed to be considered mania. If the mood is ecstatic, then three signs must be visible. If the mood is irritable, then four signs must be visible:
- Experiencing a diminished need for sleep, but still functioning throughout the day (e.g., some people wake refreshed after an hour or two of sleep).
- Thoughts that race and a mind that will not rest.
- Unfocused attention and difficulty concentrating (e.g., unimportant or irrelevant thoughts occupy one’s mind).
- Heightened loquaciousness, as compared to normal talkativeness.
- Planning extensively and excessively (e.g., going after personal or professional goals that may have previously gone unnoticed).
- An over-inflated self-image and feelings of grandiosity.
- Engaging in dangerous or painful activities (e.g., excessive spending, careless sexual encounters, or unwise professional decisions).
- To be considered true mania, these behaviors must also meet one of the following criteria:
- Disrupt people’s professional and personal lives.
- Necessitate a trip to the hospital to prevent harm to the manic individual or their loved ones.
- Cause a psychotic mood.
Depression is the other side of the coin to mania. According to the DSM-5, the depressed phase of Bipolar Depression must last for at least two weeks wherein people feel weepy, sad, and/or empty, experience a significant disinterest in daily activities, and at least three of these symptoms:
- A lack of focus and an inability to make decisions.
- Significantly disrupted sleep patterns, either experienced as hypersomnia or insomnia (e.g., excessive sleeping or an inability to sleep).
- A consequential reduction in one’s stamina and energy
- Weight and/or appetite fluctuations (e.g., drastic weight gain or complete disinterest in eating).
- Feeling intensely and irrationally guilty and worthless.
- Delayed or heightened psychomotor activity (e.g., rapid foot tapping, or slowed speech).
- Constant and repeating thoughts of death or even suicide idealization.
Bipolar Depression is not a singular diagnosis. There are many different subcategories within the general diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder. Bipolar I is probably the most well-known, but it even has several subcategories of diagnosis. For example, Bipolar II is similar to Bipolar I except that people experience hypomania instead of full mania. The manic episodes for people with Bipolar II are not as intense, but often the depressive episodes are more severe and last for a longer period of time.
Working with a mental health professional to find the right diagnosis and the right treatment is key for anyone who has or may have Bipolar Depression. Effective treatments are available, and finding the right diagnosis is often the first step in healing.
Bipolar Depression Treatment at Thriveworks Charlotte
The therapists at Thriveworks Charlotte have worked with many clients who have Bipolar Depression, in its many forms. Our professionals are ready to work with you.
When you reach out to our office, you may be meeting with your therapist within 24 hours—many new clients have their first appointment the day after their first call. We work with most major insurance provides, and we offer convenient appointments times.
Let’s work together to handle Bipolar Depression. Contact Thriveworks Charlotte today.